When you welcome your Spanish business partners to your country, you should definitely pick them up at the airport and take them to their hotel. Spaniards attach great importance to a good interpersonal relationship, and this is true in business life too, and being warmly welcomed is very much expected when visiting.
The hotel should meet the normal international standard, but should be as central as possible. Since Spaniards like to spend time in public squares, cafes, bars and restaurants, it would be better to choose, for their accommodation, areas where there is a lot going on (mucha marcha, as they say in Spanish).
Welcome gifts are not really common in Spain. However, Spaniards are always pleased by small symbols of appreciation. If you receive a bottle of wine or olive oil as a present from Spain, express your thanks.
The visit should not just be about business meetings. An entertaining side programme, even on weekends, is definitely required! Spaniards usually like to travel in groups, and under no circumstances, if a Spanish business partner has travelled alone, should you take them back to the hotel after a meeting.
Show your guest or guests the sights of your region. Go out to eat together, preferably at lunchtime and in the evening. Take into account Spanish meal times: lunch takes place in Spain between 2 pm and 4 pm and you have dinner at 9 pm at the earliest. In Spain, there is a strong ‘going out’ culture. Perhaps your Spanish business partners are also interested in getting to know the nightlife in your city? After a restaurant visit, it is certainly welcome if you offer to go for a drink together.
What’s planned on the side should be an all-around programme, however, it shouldn’t have too strict a schedule. Perhaps your guests want to go shopping or to do something on their own, or just enjoy the place.
An invitation to your home is not expected on a first visit. However, if you have known your Spanish business partners for a little longer, this would certainly be accepted and understood as a sign of your personal connection.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take any special precautions as regards food: Spaniards usually don’t have any special requirements. However, you should avoid asking your Spanish guests to take off their shoes at your home. This is not usual in Spain. Your female guests in particular, may have put a lot of effort into their outfit and it would be rather strange for them if they had to take something off.
The most important factor for a successful visit to your country is getting to know each other on a personal level. Therefore, engage in plenty of small talk throughout their stay. Tell them about yourself and your family. Ensure things are entertaining and introduce your region’s cultural, culinary and sporting highlights with a lot of enthusiasm.